Africa: Barrows, Ziggurats / Tomb of Askia

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PHOTO: coolgarey 1617'20.82" 0 2'39.59"

— 17 . I (1442—1538) — , , . . , IX . XI 300 .

 

 

The Tomb of Askia, in Gao, Mali, is believed to be the burial place of Askia Mohammad I, one of Songhai's most prolific emperors. It was built at the end of the fifteenth century and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO describes the tomb as a fine example of the monumental mud-building traditions of the West African Sahel. The complex includes the pyramidal tomb, two mosques, a cemetery and an assembly ground. At 17 metres in height it is the largest pre-colonial architectural monument in the region. It is the first example of an Islamic architectural style that later spread throughout the region. Askia Mohammed was the first Askia emperor and greatly expanded the Songhai Empire. As a revert Muslim, he felt obligated to make his pilgrimage to Mecca, which he returned from in 1495. He brought back with him the materials to make his tomb; all of the mud and wood come from Mecca. The caravan is said to have consisted of "thousands of camels." It was structured as a house, with several rooms and passage ways and was sealed when Mohammed died. Askia Mohammed is the only one buried inside the tomb itself, but several other Askias are buried in the courtyard.


 

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